The Chicago Business Barometer reached its highest level since December 1983 with a PMI reading of 72.1, according to MNI Indicators. The April PMI rose 5.7 points from March, refuting economists’ expectations of a dip to 65.
Demand was robust in April with the new orders index jumping 9.9 points to a near seven-year high. Production inched up another 0.9 points for the highest level since January 2018. A surge in buying activity due to raw material shortages indicates an anticipated rise in business activity, said MNI, citing anecdotal evidence.
Shortages of parts and raw materials resulted in order backlogs soaring 16.2 points to the highest level since December 1973. Depleted inventories caused the inventory index to plunge 8.7 points into contraction for the first time since December. Delivery times by suppliers remain slow although easing by 3.5 points in April.
Prices paid at the factory gate were at a 41-year high, leaping 11.1 points and indicating increased cost burdens for firms.
Employment was at the highest index reading since August 2018 and gaining 1.7 points for its second successive month of expansion.
Below is a graph showing the history of the Chicago Business Barometer. You will need to view the graph on our website to use its interactive features; you can do so by clicking here. If you need assistance logging into or navigating the website, please contact us at info@SteelMarketUpdate.com.
Sandy WilliamsRead more from Sandy Williams
Latest in Economy
AISI tells Congress to tighten trade legislation
The American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) is urging Congress to strengthen US trade laws. Specifically, Kevin Dempsey, president and CEO of AISI, asked Congress to incorporate the provisions of the Leveling the Playing Field 2.0 Act in any trade legislation that moves forward this year.
Metalformers’ outlook brightens in February: PMA
Metalformers expressed increased optimism about business activity this month, according to the February 2024 Precision Metalforming Association (PMA) Business Conditions Report.
AISI explains new PM2.5 air-quality regulation’s impact on steel
The US already had strict regulations on air-quality standards for particulate matter, but they are going to get even tighter.
Architecture Billings Index remains soft in January
The Architecture Billings Index (ABI) reading from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and Deltek showed a slight uptick in January but continued to signal soft conditions. The index inched up from 45.4 in December to 46.2 in January. While the index has moved higher consecutively each month since October, it remains in contraction territory. […]
Manufacturing remains sluggish in New York state
Manufacturing activity in New York State continued to shrink this month, according to the latest Empire State Manufacturing Survey from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.